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Sep 26

Banned Books Week – My Favorites

banned-books1_0001“It was a dark and stormy night.”
Ah, Banned Books Week always makes me rub my hands together in delight and dust off my old, decrepit paperback books. Taped covers, “bookworm” holes and dog eared pages – nothing beats a great book…..

Unless it’s been banned. Just like bad boys, if a book is deemed “bad”, well, hell’s bells, I can’t wait to read it, or at least see what all the fuss is about. Many of the books I’ve read, I didn’t even realize were banned.

Let me share the list of my top five banned books that I read over and over again.  You knew there was going to be a list!!

1.  1984 by George Orwell –  “Do it to Julia!” I can’t say that I “enjoyed” this book as a matter of entertainment, but it sure did make one think.  As a romance writer, I notice many authors are accused of creating insta-love between the two protagonists.  Well, 1984 has one of the quickest cases of “insta-love” that I’ve ever read, with note passing to boot!

Reasons for challenge:  “pro-communist and contained explicit sexual matter.”

2.  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – “I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”

Gosh another “downer ending” book.  Atticus lost the case, Tom Robinson got shot.  Poor Mayella Ewell.  But at least Bob Ewell got his just desserts….and Boo Radley….we’ll never know.  You laughed, you cried and yes, it has become a part of me.

Reasons for challenge:  Using the word “damn” and “hell devil”.  Does  “psychological damage to the positive integration process “.  Uses the word “nigger”.  “Conflicted with the values of the community.”  The book has also been charged with being unfit for junior high use.  “Contains profanity and racial slurs”.  “Is degrading to African Americans.”

The last reason make me laugh.  Anyone remember how tough Calpurnia was on Jem and Scout?

3.  A Wrinkle in Time: “Don’t try to comprehend with your mind. Your minds are very limited. Use your intuition.”

I can’t say enough how much I adore this book.  Science fiction, themes of love and forgiveness, and a little love story to boot.  Plus a female lead who was smart and wore glasses AND braces? Sign me up!  The discussion of a tesseract (which is now termed a wormhole), space travel and life on other planets.

Reason for challenge:  Challenging religious beliefs, contains offensive language.

4.  In Cold Blood – First of all, let me say that Philip Seymour Hoffman was capitivating in his portrayal of Truman Capote in Truman.  It is also said that the characater of Dill in To Kill a Mockinbird was based on him.  Regardless of the personal history between he and Harper Lee, this book is one of the first “true-ish crime” books that I’ve ever read.  It’s not a “fun, light” read, not by any means, but a truly excellent and absorbing read just the same.  Capote knows how to write a book that captures the reader and pulls him in.

Reason for challenge:  “sex, violence and profanity.”

5.  A Separate Peace –  “Sarcasm… the protest of those who are weak.”

I saw this book the other day under my dresser.  Gosh, I read it so long ago, but it sure sticks with me. Gene’s jealously of Finney and what it ultimately led to.

Reason for challenge:  “filthy, trashy sex novel.”  “Offensive language”.


Honorable Mentions:

Lord of the Flies

Native Son

The Autobiography of Malcolm X



It’s funny now that I look over this list.  I read a lot of these books in high school and/or college, and to be honest, the real meaning and themes within the book didin’t hit home until I actually got out of school and began to “live”.  It’s interesting now, looking back, how many of these books were truly ahead of their time.

So hey! What are some of your favorite books that have been challenged or banned?



Sep 24

Erin McKean: The joy of lexicography

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Is the beloved paper dictionary doomed to extinction? In this infectiously exuberant talk, leading lexicographer Erin McKean looks at the many ways today’s print dictionary is poised for transformation.


Sep 22

Music Monday – Rock Plaza Central

the road of successNew (to me) music that doesn’t have a host of different mediocre pop stars collaborating on the same tired old riff.  A song that doesn’t have a rap as a bridge.  A song that uses real instruments – folks aren’t singing to a track.  A song that can sound different every time it’s performed.

In other words, a breath of fresh musical air.

Rock Central Plaza is the name of the group and they’re classified as “indie rock”, whatever that means in this musical age.  I suppose it means they didn’t win a television talent show and/or aren’t manufactured acts pushes on an unsuspecting public as “music.”

Where did I find this gem?  It’s on the soundtrack of an independent (of course) post apocalyptic film called “The Battery”:

From IMDB:

Two former baseball players, Ben (Jeremy Gardner) and Mickey (Adam Cronheim), cut an aimless path across a desolate New England. They stick to the back roads and forests to steer clear of the shambling corpses that patrol the once bustling cities and towns. In order to survive, they must overcome the stark differences in each other’s personalities. Ben embraces an increasingly feral, lawless, and nomadic lifestyle while Mickey is unable to accept the harsh realities of the new world and longs for the creature comforts he once took for granted. A bed, a girl, and a safe place to live. When the men intercept a radio transmission from a seemingly thriving, protected community, Mickey will stop at nothing to find it, even though it is made perfectly clear that he is not welcome.

I found it to be a pretty interesting movie. While not heavy on zombie gore, it is an in-depth look at the character interplay and how their differening personality effect decisions that are made.  I’d recommend you checking it out if you’re into that kind of thing.  Again, I warn you, this is no Resident Evil. Zombies aren’t popping out from every crack and crevice to be slaughtered in spectalcular gouts of putrefied blood.  It’s a quiet, introspetive film.

All the music used in the film was apt, but this song stuck out to me, which is why I post it for you here.  Enjoy!



Sep 17

Confessions of a Blogger

Confessions.of.a.BloggerThe Nerdy Girlie posted on her confessions on her blog and encourage others to do the same.  So here I go…


1.  I am a terrible scheduler and get sidetracked too often, which wastes time.  This morning is a prime example of this.  I was supposed order groceries online, run updates on the laptop and do three loads of laundry.  As it turned out, I was too late (at 9:30 am!!) to schedule grocery pickup for the day, the updates on the laptop, which were supposed to take fifteen minutes, instead took an HOUR AND  HALF, and therefore, I only got one load of laundry in.  I could have run downstairs during downloading the updates and popped a load of laundry in, but I kept thinking “only five more minutes” over and over.  Not to mention that I discovered a chicken literally frozen to the shelf in the deep freeze like it took a trek through Antarctica and didn’t make it.  I had to save that one until tomorrow.

2.  I feel awkward promoting myself.   As an author, self-promotion is almost as important as writing the book.  Problem is, I stink at self-promotion.  It feels intrusive, annoying and self-serving.  I’ve found it very difficult to promote beyond posting the book cover/link a couple of times on Facebook and writing a few blog posts about inspiration etc.  It’s hard to find a “happy medium”  and one tends to wonder….are people really paying attention?

3.  I love lists.  Five best movies?  Six foods for energy?  I love them all. I waste way too much time reading lists.  Thing is, I learn a lot from these lists….enough to inspire lists of my own.

4.  I have a lot of ideas for blogging…..but I don’t write them down.  So when it comes time to actually write, I’m looking at a blank page with my fingers hovering over the keyboard.  Or, what I WANT to write is so out there that I’m afraid no one will relate and/or care and I’ll get lots of nasty comments.  It’s hard to find a balance. But did order a planner for myself (after having scoured Staples) and I am looking forward to writing down these ideas from now on.

5.  Music is my muse.  When I get ready to write, whether it be a tender/sexy love scene, a zombie-fighting scene (in my work in progress) or a blog post, I pop on the headphones.  Fuel, Train, The Police, the Eighties, Tchaikovsky….whatever is the inspiration at the time, I click that playlist on Google Play.  Then, hopefully, off to the races!!

What are some of your blogger confessions?

Aug 15

Dog Transformation – It’s Magic!!

With all the “transformation videos going around, along with the joke transformations (did you see the one where the guy turns himself into Idris Elba?), I decided to give my dog her little shot at stardom and transform her into a Disney star.


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